Starke officials consider cutting police department
City commissioners are discussing the future consolidation of the police and fire department.
STARKE, Fla. (WCJB) - Budget issues across the state have some Starke city leaders looking for ways to cut costs.
City officials could trim the budget including possibly merging their police and fire departments with Bradford County. The Bradford County Sheriff’s Office already serves as the only law enforcement agency in two other towns in the county.
Scott Roberts, Mayor of Starke, said this is not a new topic of discussion.
“This is something we have looked at throughout the last several years. I know it’s cropped up from time to time. It kind of came back up this time when we are looking at some budgetary constraints so therefore, we were looking to balance the budget and at the same time, see if we can look at ways to possibly keep the service the same.”
BCSO officials plan on filling openings with former officers from the Starke Police Department.
Sheriff Gordon Smith said the office has many open positions to accommodate released officers.
“If he decides to make a move in that direction, sooner the better, that would be us time through attrition, to provide jobs for the majority of the rank and level employees, what we call the line level employee. We like to give many as possible positions,” said Gordon.
Police Chief Jeff Johnson told to TV20 he has already made city staff’s requested budget cuts.
Chief Johnson plans to present to the commission to keep his department intact.
Consolidation proposals will be presented to the city commission on June 20.
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